'Let's get it done,' Andy Murray had declared in a presumptuous Tweet yesterday. But, while he won this French Open second round match against Simone Bolelli 7-6 6-4 7-5, the Scot frequently looked likely to come undone in a nasty wind that played trickily over the damp clay.
In a match as messy as an upturned plate of spaghetti Bolognese, Murray's main unravelling occurred during the first set.
With the Italian world number 126 powering Exocet forehands to the corners of the Philippe Chatrier court, Murray never looked comfortable in his base camp, pitched ten feet behind the baseline.
After struggling in his opening service games in front of around 23 spectators et un chien
, the British number one capitulated at 1-2. Although he broke right back, the Italian followed suit in a set of half a dozen service breaks.Read more (367 words)
At 6-5, the Scot carved out two set points, but the offensive-minded Italian continued to pound his forehand, fighting back to deuce before two crunching deliveries forced the tiebreak.
A decisive breaker, in which Murray finally realised that the lines he should be peppering were not of the service variety, was settled in the world number four's favour with a sweet down-the-line backhand.
The first set had been mentally fierce and physically dirty on the sticky terre battue, and a wayward service game at the start of the second from Bolelli indicated that his thoughts might be elsewhere, perhaps on his supermodel wife, Ximena Fleitas.
Whatever his distractions, Bolelli, who until this tournament hadn't won an ATP-level match since the lowly Croatia Open last July, continued to pound away on his forehand wing and broke handily back for 2-2, assisted by a brace of double faults from the Scot.
Murray, on an 11-match winning streak against Italians, struck back at 4-3 by reacquainting himself with the baseline, a distant friend that had barely been in the same arrondissement in the first set.
A Hogwarts-style sliced backhand lob plus some solid work around the baseline, now a close family friend, if not a soulmate, secured the Scot's serve at 5-4 and wrapped up a second-set success that was the very definition of winning ugly.
As the third set unfolded, the Italian refused to wilt and, at 4-3, broke the Scot in a game in which Murray won only one point from open rally play.
But Bolelli, suddenly the mental midget who had lost convincingly in the last 12 months in Challengers to such household names as Dieter Kindlmann and Laurynas Grigelis, failed to capitalise on his 5-3 advantage.
At 5-5 30-30, a trademark down-the-line backhand from the Scot secured a break point and he duly converted with some deep groundshots to the Bolelli backhand, before serving out the match.
This was a dirty, ugly win for Murray in breezy Paris, and he may want to reflect on the wisdom of such passive play with this year's faster ball at his disposal. Tactically, Murray has much to consider ahead of a third-round meeting with Michael Berrer or Arnaud Clement.